Australian home loan market ends the financial year on a high

(ASX:AFG) The 2021 financial year drew to a close with another record quarter of activity for AFG brokers. The company recorded $22.6 billion in home loan lodgements for the three months to 30 June 2021. This is an increase of 10% on the previous quarter and a massive 34% on the corresponding quarter last year.

AFG CEO David Bailey explained the results: “Whilst Upgraders remain the main source of lodgements at 42%, Refinancers fuelled by cash back offers from some lenders also drove activity, jumping by 4% to be 27% of the market. Continuing the increasing trend observed in the third quarter, Investor activity increased a further 2% to 25%.”

“Despite hitting highs of 23% of application flow during the year on the back of support of State and Federal Government assistance packages, First Home Buyer activity dropped back to 14% of total activity for the final quarter of the year,” he said.

Record lodgements were broadly seen across the country, New South Wales is up 12.16% from the quarter to $7.87 billion and Victoria up 12.76% from Q3 21 to $7.54 billion. WA continues to show growth with an increase of 5.19% on the prior quarter, representing a significant 31.5% increase on this time last year, to $2.39 billion. Queensland lodgements increased by 5.28% for the quarter to $3.68 billion and South Australia recorded a 7.27% rise on Q3 21 to deliver $1.12 billion of home loan lodgements for the quarter. The exception was the Northern Territory, which was down 10.17% on the prior quarter to $41 million.

“The national average mortgage size has also increased to $593,250, up from $573,767 last quarter,” he said. Loan to value ratios (LVR), however, were down across the board meaning valuations are outpacing the growth in loan sizes. “With speculation that the market is overheated, it is reassuring customers are not drawing up to the full value of their properties and are instead retaining equity.”

The low interest rate environment is seeing more customers choose a Fixed Rate mortgage to lock in the benefit, with Fixed products at their highest ever level of 38%. Homebuyers are also opting to pay down their loans with 84% of borrowers choosing Principal and Interest (P&I) products ahead of paying interest only.

The Big 4 Banks and their associated brands have lifted by 2.2% to be sitting at 59.31% of the market.
“On the back of a consistent cash back offer, the Westpac group is taking the lion’s share of the increase, jumping from 17.97 % to 22.73 % of the market. ANZ recorded another dip as their share of the market dropped from 9.41% to 6.93%. With the tapering of the Term Funding Facility free kick, it will be interesting to see if cash back offers continue, especially given the fixed rate bonanza for customers appears to be ending.

Among the non-majors Macquarie felt the impact of the Big 4 Banks taking back market share the most, with their share dropping from 9.91% to 8.53% for the quarter.

“In a positive sign, lender turnaround times (TAT) are starting to show signs of improvement with the average number of days from submission to formal approval dropping back to 25 days from a high of 27 days the prior quarter. Whilst pleasing to see a reduction, customers should consult with their broker as there are many lenders with strong offers in the market with TAT’s considerably inside 25 days,” he concluded.

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